Row your boat

Sometimes, we like to row our 15 tonne lugger. On this occasion we were off to deliver cargo from Penzance to Falmouth. The sail trading schooner De Gallant had stopped over in Penzance but needed a hand to deliver part of her cargo of rum, chocolate and various goodies from the Caribbean to customers in Falmouth.

We love to promote sailing and work to raise awareness of the role of sailing in addressing climate change – so we put our oars in and offered to help Alex and the gang at New Dawn Traders by taking the cargo on its last leg.

Here we are rowing out of Newlyn harbour. No sweat…

Thanks to Rob McDowell for holding the camera.

Some nautical notes: it was very common for luggers to carry sweeps aboard for harbour work in moments of calm like this. We keep ours in the rafting irons – at bottom right you can just see the starboard forward iron and the ‘raft’ of spars and sails carried in it. The irons are mounted in the capping rail and swung outboard as here, they help keep the deck free for work.

You can also see the fore lug set ready to catch the breeze – and those of you familiar with dipping luggers will notice it’s set against the mast, on the ‘wrong’ tack. Old photos of luggers working in and out of port show they often did not bother to dip the lug in light airs when they were doing short tacks. They relied on the mast not falling down, as it’s completely unsupported.

Sailing out of harbour

It’s not all that often you get to sail out of harbour these days in a dipping lugger. It helps if the wind is fair, as short tacks in a confined area are hard work, and harbour masters don’t often like it for obvious reasons – but it’s great fun, planning your escape under sail and oar with the crew, that last shove off the quay wall with a boathook and then trusting to your judgement and the skill of your crew.

This short clip captures Barnabas sailing off to transfer a New Dawn Traders cargo shipment from De Gallant, for its last leg of a journey from the Caribbean to customers in Falmouth.

Thanks to Chris Yacoubian for filming on board, and Adrian Cobello for piloting the drone.


Participating in maritime festivals is an important part of how we fulfil our charitable aims of educating of the public and preserving the maritime heritage. It is also fantastic fun.

St Ives

St Ives has always been a special place for Barnabas: she was built at Porthgwidden beach and in recent years has returned to participate in celebrations of the maritime heritage of the town.


As a wooden boat much more than a century old, Barnabas requires a great deal of maintenance. Members of the Trust, volunteers and professional marine services do a great deal to keep her afloat.

Restoration of Barnabas

Barnabas was extensively restored in Penzance in 2005, thanks to great efforts to raise funds from the Heritage Lottery Fund. She was re-launched in July 2006. A book detailing her history and restoration by Sue McNab is available from the Trust: Barnabas: A St Ives Mackerel Driver, Sue McNab, 2007.

Barnabas Around Britain

In 2015 Barnabas sailed around Britain, following the route traditionally taken by Cornish fishermen of the Victorian period as they followed the herring fishery through the summer months. The voyage took 11 weeks, with crew changes taking place each weekend in a different port.

Barnabas At Sea

Barnabas has had a lot of adventures going to sea…

Gordon Frickers: A Different Perspective

Rob McDowell

There are some joys to being ‘locked down’! For me, one of them is occasionally trolling the internet (as you do) for wooden boats… and on this instance, I unexpectedly stumbled across an artist I’d not heard of before. Gordon Frickers. I’m sorry Gordon, I’ve spent too long under the African skies to be cultured in maritime art.
What I saw was simple, bright, colourful and refreshing, a delightful watercolour of Barnabas, painted in the early 70’s. And the accompanying text included something along the lines of, ‘I wonder where she is now’? I had no option but to reply…

Barnabas, painted by Gordon Frickers around 1974

Gordon writes back, ‘one of the earliest surviving examples of my emerging talent. I recall Barnabas very well. Back in the 1970’s she was one of the first small craft to be restored, at the time a brave and imaginative project. When I painted her from life, she was said to be 101 years old. To capture the ambience, I was sitting in sunshine on a bollard on a quay near Penryn, West Cornwall. I probably drew the picture 1974. The Cornish lads were very proud of her and gleefully claiming that in a fresh breeze, manned by 16 drunken Cornishmen, she had easily outsailed racing yachts of similar size from the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club’. 50 years on, things don’t change… apart from not being drunk and in charge.

‘Luggers were fast, sea worthy, economic, much used by fishermen, smugglers and sometimes by pirates. Coincidentally, one of the earliest examples of the work of one of my heroes, Toulouse Lautrec, is also a ‘lugger painting’.’ Wooden vessels were to feature more in Gordon’s life, in two spectacular gale-based paintings, one of Sir Robin Knox-Johnson climbing ‘above a wave’ on Suhaili.

Roaring Forties by Gordon Frickers

Roaring Forties was the first of three Gordon Frickers paintings commissioned by Sir Robin Knox-Johnson and depicts a dramatic moment during the yachtsman’s 1969 solo circumnavigation. ‘For a brief, inglorious moment there was me & two masts in sight & nothing but ocean in any direction for 2,000 miles. I saw this grey beard approaching. It wasn’t the biggest, it looked dangerous. I leapt into the rigging to avoid being swept away.’ Sir Robin Knox-Johnson.

Another is of Pete Goss just about to be ‘under a wave’ on Spirit of Mystery. Spirit of Mystery is a replica (2008) 37 foot Mounts Bay lugger which headed on an epic voyage from Newlyn to Australia in 2008/09, in search of fortune. This followed the original 1854/55 passage and was skippered by Westcountry sailor and adventurer, Pete Goss MBE and his crew. Before my time, Pete was the Patron or Sailing Master on Barnabas, apparently fine-tuning his lugger skills before setting off to Australia! If anybody has heard of a more adventurous lugger adventure, please let me know? Well, one certainly can’t forget Jude and Jono Brickhill in Guide Me, still engineless, and based round the Lizard in Gweek.

Spirit of Mystery

Anyway, do have a browse over Gordon’s diverse range of paintings on his web site. I have a gut feeling they are a good investment, so start saving for a commission – naturally of you sailing Barnabas this summer!
Keep safe and I hope to see a team antifouling with us in a few months. Proper Job.

Christmas Get-Together 29th November 2019

CMT XMas 2019-11-29

Film Night Fundraiser 23rd March 2019

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Film Night Poster 2019 Between Home-720

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Film Night Fundraiser 14th April 2018

Johnny Frenchman Poster

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Bottle Bank Raffle Prizes

Thanks to the Bottle Bank in Falmouth for helping us out with prizes for the Christmas Dinner Raffle!


Oh no, it must be Christmas…

CMT Xmas17

Summer Sightings

Some sightings of Barnabas have been sent in by some vigilant sea twitchers… Thanks to Dickon Berriman and Steve Quinton for these pictures of SS634 sneaking into Falmouth for the Classics.

Barnabas nosing up to her mooring in Falmouth - thanks to the Falmouth Harbour Commissioners!

Barnabas nosing up to her mooring in Falmouth – thanks to the Falmouth Harbour Commissioners!

A sighting near Black Rock

A sighting near Black Rock

Antifouling Barnabas, Saturday April 1st

11am – 5pm, Newlyn Harbour Lifeboat Slip

Come and paint or be painted: a chance to see old friends or get to know new ones!

Bring old clothes and brushes, paint trays if you can.

Steaming in Ellen’s Frames

Here’s some of what the Ellen’s maintenance crew have been up to over the winter – thanks Peter Hughes for the video.

Painting Party on the Quay, Saturday 11th March

Painting Party, Saturday 11th March 2017

9am – 3pm, Newlyn Harbour Old Quay

Come and paint or be painted: a chance to see old friends or get to know new ones!

Bring old clothes and brushes, paint trays if you can.

Film night Fundraiser 18th March

Captains Courageous Poster

Book your tickets here!

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